8:00 pm EST, November 26, 2017

‘The Physics of Star Wars’ book review: A stellar read

The Physics of Star Wars takes a deep dive into the real science behind the world of Star Wars.

About ‘The Physics of Star Wars’

Exactly how long ago was “a long time ago?” What is it that they’re really saying when they say, “may the Force be with you?” The Physics of Star Wars takes on these topics, along with many more.

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Written by Patrick Johnson, PhD, an assistant physics professor at Georgetown University, The Physics of Star Wars seeks to connect the fantastical world of Star Wars with real-world scientific concepts. Topics are explored almost exclusively through the lens of the Star Wars movies, Episodes I-VII.

Related: Star Wars live-action TV series: What we know, what we don’t and what we want

The book is laid out like a textbook, providing information and context from the movies, and also real-world theories and applications for each topic that it considers. Check out our review of The Physics of Star Wars and pick up the book yourself at any of the links below to take a look at the science behind a galaxy far, far away!


the physics of star wars

‘The Physics of Star Wars’ review

The Physics of Star Wars is a great read for anyone who’s ever dreamed of living in a galaxy far, far away. What’s that? You didn’t think that was possible? Well, it may be time to think again.

Star Wars is definitely more fantasy than sci-fi, but with technology advancing at such a rapid rate in the world today, things that we once thought to be inconceivable are ebbing closer to reality. The more we learn about both Earth and Space, the less fantastical some elements of the Star Wars movies become.

One of the most impressive things about The Physics of Star Wars is the vast range of topics that it covers. From the anatomy of the galaxy and the organisms living within it, to transportation and weaponry, to droids and the Force, there’s nothing that the book shies away from.

The Physics of Star Wars does a great job at looking at the specific elements of the Star Wars world, such as lightsabers, Jedi Mind Tricks, and Repulsorlifts. Each section starts off with some stats on that element’s usage in the films, followed by some more in depth information about its functionality. These parts are usually supplemented with quotes and fun examples from Star Wars. This is where you can really tell how big a fan the author is, which makes for an extra fun read.

the physics of star wars

The text goes deeper than the examples, though. The author always goes into the precise functions of each device, and provides hypotheses as to how they could work. Things really get interesting in the “physics of real life” portion of each section, where the potential real-world applications and mechanics are discussed.

Often, the author provides information about how close we actually are to realizing some of the concepts in the Star Wars movies, even citing instances where NASA has utilized similar technology. Not only is this mind-blowing from the perspective of a Star Wars fan, but it’s also just interesting as a citizen of the world, to know what advancements are being made.

On top of being insightful on the very specific elements of Star Wars, The Physics of Star Wars also proves informative on more general space-based topics, such as exactly how long ago “a long time ago” was, the relative aging of Luke and Leia, and what the Star Wars galaxy would actually look like. By comparing the galaxy to our own, the author makes it very accessible and even more interesting.

If you’re interested in this book and don’t have a science background, you’ll still enjoy it, for the most part. The Physics of Star Wars doesn’t dig too deep into the equations behind the concepts, while still adequately explaining the theories on a surface level.

There are a few instances where the science might go over the reader’s head, but overall, the fandom and physics are wonderfully balanced and the book should serve as a fun, educational read for the average fan. That being said, if you’re looking for a more mathematical experience, The Physics of Star Wars might not be the book for you.

‘The Physics of Star Wars’ book review: do you want to know more about the science behind a galaxy far, far away?

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